NBA Handicapping: Injuries to Pay Attention to Before Betting
by Trevor Whenham - 4/10/2013
An injury to a single key player in the NBA can make the difference between a deep playoff run and a disappointing early exit. As we get close to the postseason, then, it’s very important for bettors to keep a close eye on key injury situations. An injury can be a serious distraction beyond just the loss of the key contributor. Here is a look at six important injury situations to monitor heading into the finals days of the NBA season.
Manu Ginobli, San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs have clinched their division. They have just a half-game lead on the Thunder, though, so they need to keep winning to ensure home-court advantage in what seems like an inevitable series against Oklahoma City to decide the champs of the Western Conference. They will have to fight to secure that advantage without Ginobli. He is out with a hamstring injury that will keep him out for the rest of the regular season and perhaps for the start of the playoffs as well. The actual impact of this loss isn’t what it once would have been. At 36 Ginobli is not nearly the player he once was — his shooting is down, and he’s not scoring with the same efficiency. He is a security blanket for this team, though, and his experience and quiet leadership have been a big part of all their success over the years. His status is going to have a big impact on the Western Conference.
Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
This situation is getting odd. The Bulls are being ripped apart by injuries. Rose is practicing with the team – he has been for quite a while -- and seems to be close to ready for a return. He says that he is eager to get back, but his actions don’t seem to reflect that. It would seem logical that he would want to work off the cobwebs before the games really matter, but then nothing about this situation has been particularly logical. When Rose does finally step onto the court, it will be a huge story, and the betting public will likely respond strongly. Paying close attention to the situation from now until his return will give you the best chance of being in position to capitalize on his return.
Los Angeles Lakers
I am not even going to bother singling out any player in particular because injuries are such an issue across the board. Nash, Gasol, World Peace, Bryant, Howard — no one here is in the shape they would like to be. They are in a fight to even make the playoffs, and then they face a real uphill battle to do anything if and when they do make it. There are so many problems with this team that even at perfect health there would be concerns. As they are, though, the injuries really need to be paid attention to.
Tyson Chandler, New York Knicks
The Knicks have been a pleasant surprise this year, and they have a chance to make some noise in the playoffs. Chandler is their best defensive player, though, so they would really be at a loss without him. He is dealing with a neck injury, and that has cost him four of his last five games. It’s always a concern when a player is out on a game-by-game basis. The team clearly doesn’t want to shut him down, but he just can’t get healthy enough to stay active. The Knicks have clinched their division, so he can ease his way back into action. However, if the neck is still an issue when the playoffs get rolling, the landscape of the Eastern Conference could be significantly different.
Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
Wade has now missed seven of the last nine games for the Heat. It’s an ankle injury he is dealing with, but it is really hard to assess how serious it really is. As soon as the winning streak ended the Heat clearly quit caring about the regular season, so Wade likely wouldn’t be playing that much even if he were healthy. It could be that the ankle really is serious enough to keep him out this long. Or it could be that he isn’t taking any chances and is resting his fragile body for what is sure to be a long playoff run. The closer we get to the start of the playoffs the closer we’ll have to watch how Wade is responding and what clues we can deduce about what is really going on.
Ty Lawson, Denver Nuggets
The leading scorer for the Nuggets has been out of action with a heel injury since March 19 — with the exception of 20 unimpressive minutes in an attempted return on March 27. He’s a key piece of a surprisingly strong playoff contender. The urgency to get him back in action has increased recently, though, now that Danilo Gallinari has been lost for the rest of the season with a knee injury. Lawson says he would like to get back in action for two or three games before the playoff starts to get ready for the postseason, so if that doesn’t happen then it will be really noteworthy — and concerning.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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